Datti Baba-Ahmed, Labour Party’s vice-presidential candidate in the February 25 election, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to hand over to President-elect Bola Tinubu on May 29. He also urged Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, not to swear in Mr Tinubu.
Mr Baba-Ahmed begged Mr Buhari to ensure there is no handover ceremony on May 29, arguing that handing over power to Mr Tinubu would amount to handing over power to a military regime.
According to him, the incumbent president will act unconstitutionally if he hands over power to Mr Tinubu, whom INEC declared Nigeria’s president-elect.
“Mr President, do not organise that handover. CJN, your lordship, do not swear in this man so long as that problem is not (sic),” he said. Swearing in Alhaji Tinubu is as good as swearing in a military regime. They are both unconstitutional,” Mr Datti-Ahmed said Tuesday on ARISE TV.
Nigerian laws set out the process of resolving electoral disputes through the election petition tribunal and, ultimately, the Supreme Court in cases of unsatisfactory tribunal rulings.
It is unclear why Mr Baba-Ahmed is advocating for an unconstitutional extension of Mr Buhari’s grip on power when the legally set out procedures have not been exhausted.
Earlier in February, the Labour vice-presidential candidate in the February poll supported Mr Buhari’s flagrant violation of the Supreme Court order regarding the old naira notes. He railed against state governors who sued Mr Buhari’s regime over the new naira notes policy.
“They did not challenge Buhari when the Naira fell from N200 to N750 or more now to the dollar. They have not challenged him. It is only the few weeks before elections that they are challenging the president to the extent of giving counter orders of treason. It is close to treason. Lawyers will tell you that better,” Mr Datti-Ahmed said in a press conference, referring to Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s directives which retained the old naira notes as legal tender for commercial activities in the state in line with a Supreme Court ruling as opposed to Mr Buhari’s disobedience.
“Like it or hate it, Buhari’s government was duly elected and sworn in. Nigeria is a sovereign state and currency matters are a sovereign issue. No state governor… has the right to challenge the (federal) government. This is a treasonable offence,” Mr Datti-Ahmed added.
He later argued after the conference on TV that the currency issue lies solely with the president, accusing the opposing state governors of undermining Nigeria’s sovereignty.
“Why I called it treason is that a commander-in-chief gives his order and a state governor gives a direct counter order to that… call it anything, the bottom line is a commander-in-chief gives an order a state governor says don’t do it, do mine, that is treason,” Mr Datti-Ahmed claimed. “You’re undermining the sovereignty. …there is no way you can undermine a commander-in-chief by saying go and do the opposite of what he has the power to say. This is highly disrespectful.”
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